Human Trafficking in the Information Society

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Year of publication 2014
Type Chapter of a book
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Medicine

Description Ever since human beings evolved from a hunter-gatherer society characterized by egalitarian culture and absence of slavery into newer forms of social organization, human trafficking has been part of our societies. The scope, form and extent of human trafficking is related to the form of the society in which this phenomenon occurs. Trafficking of human beings is a highly complex issue. The main attributes of difficult problems (complex issues) as elucidated by Dietrich Corner [1] and later expanded upon by Joachim Funke [2] are: 1. Intransparency (lack of clarity of the situation), 2. Polytely (multiple goals), 3. Complexity (large numbers of items, interrelations, and decisions), and 4. Dynamics (time considerations). The idea to study the specific issue of human cyber trafficking arose from previous experience in the Research Inventory for Child Health in Europe (RICHE) project focused on mapping child health research during 2011-2013 [3]. In identifying research gaps for this project, we performed an analysis of the terms contained in child health-related taxonomies and compared them with currently used terms in documents published on the Web. We noticed, among others, the absence of the phrase "cyber bullying". A more detailed analysis revealed that emergent issues related to the quickly evolving use of existing information and communication technology infrastructure and dealing with human relations and relationships may not be sufficiently quickly reflected in scientific literature. By the time the scientific community takes notice, the situation may have passed the manageable stage and it may be too late to effectively address the issue. Tracking the timeline of appearance of "cyber bullying" on the Web and its first occurrence in peer-reviewed literature, there seemed to be a time delay of approximately 5 years. Although cyber bullying is still not a part of medical taxonomies, full-text searching of academic resources (using Google Scholar) shows that it is used more and more often and has become a part of everyday vocabulary.
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